Optics Mag is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Read more.

20 Reflection Photography Ideas to Get You Inspired

Last Updated on

reflection on the gallery floor

Reflective photography is an outstanding trend that seems to stick around year after year. When you look at the results that it offers, it’s no surprise that it’s so popular.

But how can you take reflection photographs without just mimicking what someone else has already done? You check what’s out there for inspiration, of course! Then, take a few ideas from each one, and mix and match to get something truly unique and creative.

Here are 20 different ideas that you can use to inspire your own outstanding reflection photos.

shutter camera divider

The 20 Reflection Photography Ideas to Get You Inspired

1. Water

dog drinking water in the shore showing its reflection

Image Credit: Judi Neumeyer, Unsplash

Ease of Completion:  Easy
Extra Necessary Equipment: None

If you’re looking to take reflection photos, water is one of the best places to start. Water naturally reflects light, making it outstanding for reflection photography.

Even better, with so many water sources out there, there are many possibilities and locations for reflection photography. You might need to take a few more steps to make your water reflection photography stand out, but it’s a great way to experiment in the field.


2. Glossy Surfaces

walls reflecting on the floor

Image Credit: Ari Spada, Unsplash

Ease of Completion:  Easy
Extra Necessary Equipment: None

If a surface has a sheen or a gloss, there’s a good chance that it puts off some sort of reflection. If you capture light in the right way, you can take a unique photograph on a surface that many people don’t even realize is reflective.

When you capture an image like that, people stop and take notice, so it’s an excellent way for your reflection photography pictures to stand out.


3. Glass

glasses on the table with reflection

Image Credit: James Harris, Unsplash

Ease of Completion:  Easy
Extra Necessary Equipment: None

When you think of glass, you often think of looking right through it, but when it catches the light in the right way, it can reflect images. The great part about glass is that you can typically move smaller pieces, giving you a bit more versatility when setting up your shot.

Get creative with it, and reflection photography with glass can produce stunning results!


4. Windows

man looking at the window

Image Credit: Laurenz Kleinheider, Unsplash

Ease of Completion:  Moderate
Extra Necessary Equipment: None

Most buildings have windows, and if you line up your shot and wait for the light to hit a window at just the right angle, it can be a great way to take a few reflection pictures.

Some windows have a reflective layer installed, and with these, you can take a ton of reflection photos and capture exactly what you want. Since a window is an everyday object, when you capture it in a unique way, it can create a photo that captures people’s attention.


5. Ripples

ripple reflection

Image Credit: Jackson Hendry, Unsplash

Ease of Completion: Easy
Extra Necessary Equipment: None

When people think about reflection photography with water, they often think of perfectly still water. But if you disturb the water just right and create ripples, that can produce stunning photos too.

If you set up your camera and drop a pebble in the water or if you’re in an area where the water is naturally disturbed, you can create a unique image with ripples.


6. Change the Angle

 
woman leaning on the store window

Image Credit: Jesus Santos, Unsplash

Ease of Completion:  Easy
Extra Necessary Equipment: None

Some of the best photographs simply change the way that we look at everyday objects. You can create a fresh perspective by looking at something from a different angle, and it’s one of the best ways to put your own spin on reflection photography.

So, when you’re looking for your next reflection photo, change the angle to mix things up!


7. Silhouettes

person's silhouette reflecting on the water

Image Credit: Aldain Austria, Unsplash

Ease of Completion:  Moderate
Extra Necessary Equipment: Extra people

While crystal-clear clarity has its place, sometimes, subtlety is the way to go. Silhouettes are ideal for doing that. You can mirror two dark images with the reflection, or the reflection might be the silhouette and the person is perfectly clear.

You can reverse this too, having the reflection be crystal clear while the actual person is just a silhouette.


8. Puddles

reflection of the city seen on the puddles

Image Credit: Redd, Unsplash

Ease of Completion:  Easy
Extra Necessary Equipment: None

Not everyone has a lake or a large body of water near them, but there are other ways to use water in reflection photography. One of the best ways is through puddles.

People often ignore the puddles that they walk by every day, but when you make them the focus of your photo, it can throw a different and often beautiful perspective on the world.


9. Black and White

leaping man reflecting on the floor

Image Credit: Andy Beales, Unsplash

Ease of Completion:  Easy
Extra Necessary Equipment: A camera with a black-and-white setting or photo-editing software

While color photography has a few clear advantages over black-and-white photography, sometimes the only way to get a picture just the way that you want it is to drain it of color.

You can get a camera that takes photos in black and white, but most photo-editing software enables you to remove the color after the fact. This also lets you decide whether you like the color or the black-and-white version better!


10. Flip the World

buildings reflecting on the puddle

Image Credit: Ion Fet, Unsplash

Ease of Completion:  Moderate
Extra Necessary Equipment: Extra creativity or photo-editing software

Sometimes you need a drastic new take on things. You can flip the world upside down with reflection photography — often literally. You can also flip it on a vertical axis, giving you many ways to get creative with what you’re photographing.

Flipping the world might take more creativity to get the job done, but the results are often some of the best photos out there.


11. Do It at Night

city buildings reflecting on the river

Image Credit: Eugene Lim, Unsplash

Ease of Completion:  Easy
Extra Necessary Equipment: None

Nighttime has much to offer, and capturing it through reflective photography can make for stunning imagery. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to slow down the shutter speed to bring in enough light for many of these images.

Capturing the night sky in a reflection is great, but you can also capture city skylines and other amazing views at night.


12. Minimalist

light bulb on black background with reflection

Image Credit: Alexandru Goman, Unsplash

Ease of Completion:  Easy
Extra Necessary Equipment: None

You don’t need much going on to get a great shot. Sometimes it’s better to keep things simple and to get all the small details right.

If you’re going with a minimalist theme for your reflection photography, it’s often best to use simple objects.


13. Highlight Products

mobile phone reflecting on the table

Image Credit: Behnam Norouzi, Unsplash

Ease of Completion:  Easy
Extra Necessary Equipment: A product to highlight!

If you’re trying to highlight a specific product, one way to make it pop is with reflection photography. You can use a glossy surface, mirrors, glass, water, windows, puddles, etc. to make it stand out.

It’s a great way to have a different take on the object that you’re photographing, which is exactly what some people want when highlighting a product that they’re offering.


14. Vertical Reflections

beautiful mountain scenery reflecting in the lake

Image Credit: Pietro De Grandi, Unsplash

Ease of Completion:  Easy
Extra Necessary Equipment: None

Horizontal reflection photography is common, but if you can use vertical lines to reflect things throughout your image, it’s a great way to make it stand out. If you use vertical reflective photography the right way, it can really draw the viewer into the picture.


15. Capture Landmarks

louvre museum reflecting on the water

Image Credit: Gloria Villa, Unsplash

Ease of Completion:  Easy
Extra Necessary Equipment: None

Landmarks are noticeable all on their own, but they’re often things that people see quite often. So, if you plan on photographing one, why not try to present it in a different way? Reflection photography is a great way to do that; you’ll just need to figure out how to get a reflection from it.

You can use plenty of the options from this list, so feel free to mix and match to get the most out of your photo!


16. Change the Depth of Field

background reflecting on the glass ball

Image Credit: Simon Zhu, Unsplash

Ease of Completion:  Easy
Extra Necessary Equipment: None

Just because you’re taking reflection photos doesn’t mean other photography principles go out the window. One great way to take outstanding photos is to change the depth of field.

Not everything in the photo needs to be in perfect focus; in fact, some of the best reflection photography only keeps the reflection crystal clear. How you want to use depth of field in your reflection photography is up to you, but it’s a great tool to have at your disposal.


17. Get Creative With Photo Editing

post-edited photo of a man's refelction on the window with aerial view of the city

Image Credit: Nathan Dumlao, Unsplash

Ease of Completion:  Challenging
Extra Necessary Equipment: Photo editing software

Some of the best images out there don’t exist in the physical world. They’re creations of photo-editing software, but that doesn’t make them any less visually appealing.

If you have the software and the skills, using photo editing is a great way to create reflections in areas on things and of things that aren’t actually there. Photo-editing software opens a whole new world of creativity for you if you know how to use it.


18. Use Creative Objects

hand holding a glass ball reflecting its surrounding upside down

Image Credit: Anika Huizinga, Unsplash

Ease of Completion:  Easy
Extra Necessary Equipment: None

If you want your photos to stand out, mix things up! Use different objects to reflect things or reflect different objects. It’s extra work, but it’s a great way to present something in a unique way to the viewer. Get creative and take your photography to the next level!


19. Go Remote

silhouette reflecting on the water

Image Credit: Joshua Fuller, Unsplash

Ease of Completion: Easy
Extra Necessary Equipment: None

If you’re in an area with a great deal of hustle and bustle, get out into nature and capture what you see. Nature scenes are particularly compelling and the easiest to tie into reflection photography.

So, go out there and see what you can capture — it might just be the masterpiece that you’ve been looking for!


20. Use Your Phone!

Ease of Completion : Moderate
Extra Necessary Equipment: A phone

While you can certainly take photos with your phone, this tip is about using your phone as a reflective surface!

When turned off, your phone is a black screen that does a great job of reflecting things. Even better, it’s extremely portable and easy to set up, and almost everyone has one! This lets you get as creative as you need to take your photos.

shutter camera divider 2

Conclusion

Now that you’ve looked at many great reflection photographs, it’s time to head out and take photos of your own!


Featured Image Credit: Dannie Jing, Unsplash

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.

Robert Sparks Profile Picture